We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Line Editor?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Language & Humanities is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Language & Humanities, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

There are two definitions for line editor. Early computer programs used a program with this name that evaluated the lines and caught mistakes. Typically, however, the term refers to a copy editor who very specifically reads a text line by line.

Being a line editor is just one of the many jobs editors can hold. This type of editing requires word for word reading of a text, and a very good sense of proper grammar and usage. He or she may make comments or actual changes to the text to improve readability and change any grammatical mistakes or spelling errors.

The line editor is more frequently called a copy editor, since directly reading and editing copy is the most important function. As well as examining a text for any grammatical mistakes and cleaning up poor wording, the editor must also evaluate the text for consistency. For example, he or she might evaluate the dates in a text to be certain that all are consistent. The line editor might also research and check the facts in a document to be certain that all facts are accurate.

Long manuscripts can be somewhat laborious for a line editor, yet exceptionally important to edit. Most avid readers are familiar with the classic Alexandre Dumas mistake in The Three Musketeers where he actually makes D’Artagnan a musketeer on two separate occasions. A line editor would of course check the work for mistakes. Many newer translations of Dumas’ work fix the dates and make D’Artagnan a musketeer only once.

A line editor may also look for inconsistencies of characterizations in long manuscripts or short stories. If a character seems to be acting inconsistently with former statements, the editor will query the author. On the author’s advice, he or she will then make appropriate changes.

A good and rather fun example of this form of query is in William Goldman’s The Princess Bride, which is a fictional translation of a fictional work by a fictional author. In italics, Goldman captures his editor’s reaction to huge inconsistencies in the work. The editor nearly throws in the towel after being unable to reconcile the problems. For editors of all kinds, this inventive dialogue is a lovely example of the problems editors encounter.

A line editor may be employed in many different ways. Newspapers and magazines frequently hire these editors, as do publishing companies. Many work independently of a company as a freelancer. Depending on experience and the people for whom the editor works, these positions can be lucrative, or financially unrewarding.

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a Language & Humanities contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By seag47 — On Sep 16, 2012

My husband's aunt and uncle are freelance editors, and they make so much money! They edit things like medical journals, though, and this is something that not every editor knows how to do.

My best friend edits articles for a website, but she is on the low end of the payscale. The actual website makes more money off of her edits than she does.

However, she is doing this mainly for the experience. It will give her something good to include on her resume when she goes after the better paying jobs.

By Kristee — On Sep 16, 2012

I've been doing some freelance work as an editor for a publishing company. They send me manuscripts from authors who have requested an editor, and I mark up all the changes and send them back.

Some people are good writers in the sense of coming up with good subject material and expressing it colorfully, yet they don't have very good grammar skills. It's amazing that these two traits can coexist, but I see this all the time.

In fact, I'm currently editing a manuscript that is thoroughly entertaining, and the author is intelligent. However, he has a lot of issues with subject-verb agreement and shifting tenses in the middle of a sentence. He also includes a ton of sentence fragments and doesn't punctuate correctly.

By feasting — On Sep 15, 2012

@Perdido – I see a lot of mistakes in the newspaper that I subscribe to, as well. I know that editors are often in a rush to meet the deadline, so I think it would be nice if each newspaper had at least two editors.

They have let some pretty big mistakes through, and some of them have been in big headlines. I believe that they should either slow down or hire more help.

By Perdido — On Sep 14, 2012

I worked for years as a graphic designer at a newspaper. I always read the articles, even though they had nothing to do with my work, and I often wished that I could be a line text editor instead of a designer.

There were so many mistakes that the line editor did not catch, and I saw at least one every day. Of course, I only could view them after the paper had already been published, so it was too late to point them out.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a Language & Humanities contributor,...
Learn more
Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.